NEXT WEEK: Meet the CIO Event #3 – “Open Spaces that Spark Innovation: Co-Working and Hacker Spaces”
On September 19th, from 5-7 p.m., the City of San Leandro will host the third of four Meet the CIO events taking place in 2013. To register for this FREE event at the San Leandro Main Library, click here!
We’re very excited to be hosting a panel of innovators from other cities who have developed unique work spaces that support collaboration and community.
Why is it important for San Leandrans to learn about these type of unique work spaces?
Those of you who participated in last Monday’s City Council workshop were introduced to results of The Next Generation Workplace District study completed by Greg Tung (Freedman, Tung & Sasaki Urban Design) and Rod Stevens, on behalf of the City of San Leandro. The report takes an in-depth look at the City’s industrial area, identifies the area’s primary strengths and challenges, and makes specific recommendations regarding the City’s finite resources to revitalize this area and bring back jobs. (To learn more about this study, the community will be invited to an event at the IBEW Net Zero Energy Center on October 2nd at 4 p.m. Details will be announced in an upcoming blog post.)
One of the study’s valuable observations was that the nature of work and workplaces has changed dramatically in the decades since the City’s industrial area was formed out of San Leandro’s farmlands following WWII. San Leandro, like most cities, developed their residential areas separately from their work areas. As San Leandro was largely a manufacturing town, the large buildings that housed these robust businesses developed in areas of the City located adjacent to the railroad and apart from the areas in which people lived.
That model is no longer effective in creating jobs, especially for cities like San Leandro that are transitioning to a technology and innovation-based economy. Steve Jobs led the way with the development of campuses like Pixar in Emeryville, providing employees with fresh food, gyms, child-care, and other quality of life amenities that encourage a 24/7 merging of work and lifestyle. Google, Apple, LinkedIn — these Silicon Valley giants are building and growing based upon the model of a 24/7 workforce. This model encourages the community building, collaboration, loyalty and retention of innovators demanded by technology companies.
Dense urban areas generally cannot offer the large real estate sites demanded by a campus-style development. Instead, cities like San Francisco offer their entire city as a campus, offering affordable public transportation, a place where work can be easily interrupted by an hour at the gym, a brainstorming session at a local coffee bar, meetups by like-minded innovators in unique environments like art galleries and outdoor collaborative spaces, and a variety of apartments and condo residential opportunities to live close to work.
The development of coworking space at the turn of this century was a natural outcome of the desire for working spaces that build community and collaboration outside of a formal corporate environment. Professionals, consultants and other work-at-home individuals enjoy the benefits of collaboration and community that joining a coworking space can bring. The advent of the “maker” culture — interests that include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts — include shared equipment and access to creative types that enjoy building projects together.
San Leandro has planted the seeds for this evolution with the adoption of its award-winning Transit Oriented Development Strategy for our Downtown. The redevelopment of San Leandro Blvd. into a pedestrian-friendly street, encouraging easy access from BART to the Downtown; the development of The Cornerstone at San Leandro Crossings, a mixed use, 200 unit workforce housing apartment project adjacent to the Downtown BART station anticipated to begin construction in October 2014; and construction of the Downtown Technology Campus, currently undergoing planning/zoning entitlements for up to 400K s.f. of new office space that is also adjacent to the Downtown BART station, are all direct outcomes of this early TOD planning.
The creation of successful San Leandro co-working and hacker spaces, especially work places for the maker culture, are also critical to San Leandro’s downtown and industrial area renaissance and emergence as a tech and innovation hub. And the wheels of change are already in motion.
Interested in this type of space for yourself, or just to learn more? CLICK HERE to register for this event!